How Last Night’s CFDA Award Wins for Pharrell, HBA, and The Row Are Changing Fashion

Kanye West presents Pharrell Williams with the Fashion Icon Award at the 2015 CFDA Awards. Photo: Joe Schildhorn/

What does CFDA Awards win for The Row mean for fashion? How about the Eugenia Sheppard Media Award being given to Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, or Pharrell’s recognition as a Fashion Icon?

Obviously the world is changing — has changed — and we’re just further witnessing its acceptance. The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion line, initially perceived as a “celebrity” brand, has again received the highest honor in its category, winning Womenswear Designer of the Year (the first time was in 2012). A media award founded in honor of venerated fashion journalist Eugenia Sheppard was given to a photo sharing app we all use, presented by Kim Kardashian, a reality star who has been accepted by Anna Wintour and the fashion industry as a whole. Pharrell accepted his honor stating, “I’m not a style icon, I’m just inspired.” And at a time when transgender people (the incredible Caitlyn Jenner, anyone?) are in the spotlight, Shayne Oliver’s androgynous design for Hood By Air won the Swarovski Award for Menswear  — yes, trans issues and androgyny are separate, but Oliver’s win is still a testament to widening acceptance of people, design, and visions that may have previously been deemed too “different.” And fortunately, the embrace of different is what fashion is all about these days.

We’re withholding judgment and evening out the playing field. It may not always feel like it, but as a whole we’re becoming more open to the world around us, to being inspired by people we may not have noticed, admired, or turned to before. And that’s a good thing.

Click here to check out the must-see photos from the CFDA Awards, and everything you might have missed from the after party at the Top of the Standard.

Is Everyone on Instagram an Artist?

Kevin Systrom speaks with Simon de Pury and Klaus Biesenbach for ‘Instagram as an Artistic Medium’

An incredulous grumble emerged from the capacity crowd of art world luminaries at yesterday’s panel discussion at Art Basel Miami Beach when legendary auctioneer and art dealer, Simon de Pury, announced that “every user of Instagram is basically an artist.” Sensing the collective skepticism, the ever charismatic but never squeamish de Pury doubled down on his argument: “what has happened with Instagram is that every single person has become an artist.”

Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 — known to those outside the art world as that German dude with white hair who rips lots of selfies with James Franco and Lana Del Rey, and James Franco and pictures of Lana Del Rey, and takes pictures with and of James Franco and Lana Del Rey in the Rockaways — was quick to refute de Pury’s controversial point. “I actually disagree with Simon [de Pury]. We are not artists. Not every single person who Instagrams is an artist. I think every single person who uses Instagram communicates, and I think that’s a huge difference.”

Now we officially had a debate on our hands at Art Basel Miami Beach — the hot heart of the art world in December.

We wondered whether Kevin Systrom would take sides. Is he the sort of CEO who jumps into the fray a million miles away from his home court in Silicon Valley?

Well, the man who built one of the fastest growing social networks of all time did not disappoint. He deftly synthesized what de Pury and Biesenbach had said into an elegant compromise position that the more theoretically inclined members of the audience immediately recognized as the ultimate Hegelian move. “I want to bridge what you [de Pury] said and what you [Biesenbach] said — I believe that everyone  is an artist on Instagram in their own way, but what does art do? It communicates. It communicates an emotion. It communicates a thought.”

But what do you think? Is everyone on Instagram an artist? Or do you have to do more than just rip a selfie or ‘gram your outfit of the day to join the ranks of Rembrandt and Picasso?